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Title: Temperature, water availability, and nutrient levels at various soil depths-consequences for shallow-rooted desert succulents, including nurse plant effects. [Agave deserti; Ferocactus acanthodes; hilaria rigida]

Abstract

Soil conditions were evaluated over the rooting depths for Agave deserti and Ferocactus acanthodes from the northwestern Sonoran Desert. These succulents have mean root depths of only 10 cm when adults and even shallower distribution when seedlings, which often occur is association with the nurse plant Hilaria rigida, which also has shallow roots. Maximum soil temperatures in the 2 cm beneath bare ground were predicted to exceed 65 C, which is lethal to the roots of A. deserti and F. acanthodes, whereas H. rigida reduced the maximum surface temperatures by over 10 C, providing a microhabitat suitable for seedling establishment. Water Availability was defined as the soil-to-plant drop in water potential, for periods when the plants could take up water, integrated over time. Below 4 cm under bare ground, simulated Water Availability increased slightly with depth (to 35 cm) for a wet year, was fairly constant for an average year, and decreased for a dry year, indicating that the shallow rooting habit is more advantageous in drier years. Water uptake by H. rigida substantially reduced Water Availability for seedlings associated with this nurse plant. On the other hand, a 66-90% higher soil nitrogen level occurred under H. rigida, possibly representingmore » its harvesting of this macronutrient from a wide ground area. Phosphorus was slightly less abundant in the soil under H. rigida compared with under bare ground, the potassium level was substantially higher, and the sodium level was substantially lower. All four elements varied greatly with depth, N and K decreasing and P and Na increasing. Based on the known growth responses of A. deserti and F. acanthodes to these four elements, growth was predicted to be higher for plants in soil from the shallower layers, most of the differences being due to nitrogen.« less

Authors:
 [1]
  1. Univ. of California, Los Angeles (USA)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
7028182
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Journal Name:
American Journal of Botany; (USA)
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 76:10; Journal ID: ISSN 0002-9122
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; PLANTS; ECOLOGY; ROOTS; PLANT GROWTH; AVAILABILITY; DEPTH; METABOLISM; NUTRIENTS; SOILS; TEMPERATURE EFFECTS; WATER; DIMENSIONS; GROWTH; HYDROGEN COMPOUNDS; OXYGEN COMPOUNDS; 540210* - Environment, Terrestrial- Basic Studies- (1990-)

Citation Formats

Nobel, P S. Temperature, water availability, and nutrient levels at various soil depths-consequences for shallow-rooted desert succulents, including nurse plant effects. [Agave deserti; Ferocactus acanthodes; hilaria rigida]. United States: N. p., 1989. Web. doi:10.2307/2444436.
Nobel, P S. Temperature, water availability, and nutrient levels at various soil depths-consequences for shallow-rooted desert succulents, including nurse plant effects. [Agave deserti; Ferocactus acanthodes; hilaria rigida]. United States. https://doi.org/10.2307/2444436
Nobel, P S. Sun . "Temperature, water availability, and nutrient levels at various soil depths-consequences for shallow-rooted desert succulents, including nurse plant effects. [Agave deserti; Ferocactus acanthodes; hilaria rigida]". United States. https://doi.org/10.2307/2444436.
@article{osti_7028182,
title = {Temperature, water availability, and nutrient levels at various soil depths-consequences for shallow-rooted desert succulents, including nurse plant effects. [Agave deserti; Ferocactus acanthodes; hilaria rigida]},
author = {Nobel, P S},
abstractNote = {Soil conditions were evaluated over the rooting depths for Agave deserti and Ferocactus acanthodes from the northwestern Sonoran Desert. These succulents have mean root depths of only 10 cm when adults and even shallower distribution when seedlings, which often occur is association with the nurse plant Hilaria rigida, which also has shallow roots. Maximum soil temperatures in the 2 cm beneath bare ground were predicted to exceed 65 C, which is lethal to the roots of A. deserti and F. acanthodes, whereas H. rigida reduced the maximum surface temperatures by over 10 C, providing a microhabitat suitable for seedling establishment. Water Availability was defined as the soil-to-plant drop in water potential, for periods when the plants could take up water, integrated over time. Below 4 cm under bare ground, simulated Water Availability increased slightly with depth (to 35 cm) for a wet year, was fairly constant for an average year, and decreased for a dry year, indicating that the shallow rooting habit is more advantageous in drier years. Water uptake by H. rigida substantially reduced Water Availability for seedlings associated with this nurse plant. On the other hand, a 66-90% higher soil nitrogen level occurred under H. rigida, possibly representing its harvesting of this macronutrient from a wide ground area. Phosphorus was slightly less abundant in the soil under H. rigida compared with under bare ground, the potassium level was substantially higher, and the sodium level was substantially lower. All four elements varied greatly with depth, N and K decreasing and P and Na increasing. Based on the known growth responses of A. deserti and F. acanthodes to these four elements, growth was predicted to be higher for plants in soil from the shallower layers, most of the differences being due to nitrogen.},
doi = {10.2307/2444436},
url = {https://www.osti.gov/biblio/7028182}, journal = {American Journal of Botany; (USA)},
issn = {0002-9122},
number = ,
volume = 76:10,
place = {United States},
year = {1989},
month = {10}
}